6 Tips For Traveling With Senior Citizens

July 26, 2019

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. Summer is meant for days off, chowing down on watermelon, eating ribs so good you’re ‘finger licking’, and escaping day-to-day work life in exchange for a wonderful vacation. A family vacation means everyone. Growing older doesn’t mean your loved one has to miss out on the family fun, it just means you may need to be strategic with how long, when, and where you travel, whether it’s summertime or another time of year. Are you getting ready to go on a trip with the senior citizen in your life who loves to travel? No problem, Happy at Home has some recommended tips for traveling with the senior in your life. 

Above all else planning is key. Plan, plan, and plan some more. Life happens and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about that but if we plan, we can certainly eliminate some hiccups and be better prepared for the surprises that happen. 

Here are some tips for traveling with the aging loved one in your life. 

1. Keep it simple

We all love vacation! There’s nothing better than taking time off work and spending our time exploring beautiful places but we all know there are many ways to vacation. A few different vacation types:

  • “Let’s go away, sit on the beach and read books all week.” 
  • “Let’s go away to a foreign country, sip cappuccinos, and eat our way through Italy.”
  • “Let’s get out of our comfort zone and ride mopeds around Asia.” 
  • “We can’t decide what we want to do so let’s go to 1 million different places in a 5 day time period, staying at a fun, cute new Airbnb each night.”
  • “Let’s take a road trip, it’s only an 8-hour drive!”

The type of vacations we go on varies. When considering your aging loved one, keep it simple. The trips that require 2-hour travel from the airport with 4 changes on the subway are not ideal for traveling with the senior citizen in your life. 

Keep it simple! Airports should be close by; and if you’re driving – make sure there are plenty of rest and food stops along the way. Your loved one may still feel like they’re 29 but remember with age comes the need to make allowances for dietary, mobility, and relaxation needs. Mental age doesn’t count when it comes to logistics. 

2. Book Accommodations for all  

There’s nothing like booking that perfect Airbnb on the coast. It’s the most beautiful home with a big wrap-around porch and a couple of rocking chairs just asking for someone to sit and drink lemonade. The only problem is that it’s a two-story home, all of the bedrooms are on the second floor and there is no way to get moms wheelchair from point A to point B. 

When bringing along your favorite aging senior, consider the house or hotel at which you’re planning to stay and the ambulatory abilities of your aging senior, grandma, or grandpa. Simple ADA compliant homes and hotels with disability options, if necessary, are going to save everyone a lot of time and energy. 

Trust us when we say, there’s another beachfront view that has all the amenities you want and needs for both you and your loved one. Don’t sacrifice functionality for luxury, it could end up causing more inconvenience than enjoyment on the vacation. You can and should have both! 

3. Pack the necessities 

Traveling is all about making sure we have the necessities, it’s no different for traveling with seniors but it does mean being more attentive to what we pack. 

It’s important to make sure that we pack our daily medications but also our emergency and any allergy medications, as well. We never know what might happen so it’s better to be prepared and not need it than to need it and not have it. 

Important medications in original prescription bottles with pharmacy labels attached indicating dosage, frequency, and doctor’s name should be carried in a purse or carry on luggage if flying. 

Other necessities to remember to pack for the senior in your life are:

  •  Medically related supplies; dentures, walkers, a cane, joint wraps/braces, adult diapers, ointments, toiletries, etc.
  • Important documents (I.D., Travel documents, insurance cards)
  • Favorite snacks and water/fluids to stay hydrated 
  • Any comfort or safety items that might make your loved one feel at ease such as a blanket throw, neck pillow, sweater/jacket, slippers, and the like.

4. Prepare for the “what ifs”

We should always prepare for the unexpected in life. When you start traveling with kids or aging seniors, emergencies can quickly become health and safety concerns. Prior to traveling, it’s a good idea to make sure you have your loved one’s current primary care physician contact information handy. A brief consultation prior to travel, outlining the travel plans and getting the ok from their doctor is a good idea too. While on the trip, note the locations of nearby hospitals and prompt care facilities in case they’re needed. 

5. Relax to the max 

It’s vacation time so relaxing is a must! Everyone has a different idea of what relaxing is like. Whether you love spending hours lounging on the beach or gallivanting through town going shopping and checking out the local history, don’t do too much at one time with an aging senior in tow. 

Make sure to allow for frequent stops and breaks in your schedule! Don’t jam-pack the itinerary so that your aging loved one can’t keep up with you. Taking breaks to get out of the car and walk or to sit down and relax are good for you and good for them! 

If you know that you’re going to have an adventurous day doing things they may not be capable of, line up some other activities that your parents or other aging loved one can safely do without you for a while then join up again afterward. 

6. Bring a caregiver with you

Consider hiring a professional caregiver to accompany your aging senior while on vacation. That way you’ll have the freedom to enjoy the time knowing that their needs will be taken care of in the most loving compassionate way. 

We know it’s a family vacation but under most circumstances, you can bring us with you! Happy at Home caregivers happily go on vacation with clients and their families to ensure that everyone has their dream vacation. Trust us when we say, it makes everyone’s lives easier having a professional caregiver with you to tend specifically to the needs of an elderly.  

Bonus tips for traveling with aging loved ones: 

  • Look for discounts for senior citizens at museums, hotels, restaurants and more
  • Don’t let your loved one post on social media details about where they’re going or when they’ll be gone! You don’t want their home to be burglarized simply because of a FB post.  
  • If Flying – check TSA guidelines and regulations and inform the airline of any needs in advance 
    • If your loved one needs a wheelchair, make sure that’s lined up ahead of time — it gets you priority from TSA even TSA pre-check lines.  
    • You can request assistance in the airport for your aging loved one and also airplane boarding assistance if they’re flying to meet you or you are unavailable to help at the airport. 
    • The TSA has made several changes to its security policies to make the process easier for seniors:
      • Passengers 75 and older can leave their shoes and light jackets on when going through security
      • Passengers in wheelchairs who are unable to stand will be accommodated with a variation of the screening process
      • Senior travelers with medical devices like pacemakers should request a pat-down at security rather than going through the scanner
  • Did you know that you can ask for disabled traveler’s rows on airplanes, buses, and trains if needed? Make sure you do! 

We hope that these tips for traveling with senior citizens are helpful to you and your family! We know what it takes effort to plan and prepare in order to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all the members in your party. 

Happy at Home is an in-home care company providing exceptional in-home care services including help with grocery shopping, errands, bathing & dressing, transferring, pet care, light housekeeping, meal prep, and even assistance while on vacation. When our caregivers come with you, they are there to help provide the same exceptional in-home care that we provide for your loved ones in their homes. 

Our personalized care offers you peace of mind and gives your loved one the one-on-one care they deserve.

Happy at Home is located in Chico, Sacramento and opening up soon in Southern Oregon. Please contact us today to let us know how we can be of service to you or your loved one.